Monday, March 6, 2017

Diplomatic solution

Leah McElrath of Shareblue notes there are 118 positions in the State Department that require Senate confirmation. The nasty guy has nominated someone for only 7 of those positions.

McElrath also notes the nasty guy has asked for an additional $54 billion for the Defense Department.

Nahal Toosi of Politico reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appears to be missing. He is doing very little of the public tasks that a Sec. State normally does. Toosi also notes that the boost for the Defense budget will mean a 37% cut to the combined budget of State and US Agency for International Development.

Julia Ioffe of The Atlantic offers a look into the State Department. There is supposed to be a daily briefing so that other gov’t departments and ambassadors around the world know diplomatic priorities. These aren’t happening and diplomats are getting very little guidance. Career staffers, the ones not politically appointed, usually spend their days coordinating with other federal departments. They used to think leaving by 10 pm was a good day. Now they leave by 5:30 pm after doing very little all day. Want a meeting? How about now?

One reason is it seems the nasty guy is relying on his son-in-law Jared Kushner for all international dealings. A State employee remarks that it looks like several developing countries where the ruling family knows everything and the official equivalent of the State Department knows nothing.

Ioffe also notes Tillerson isn’t sharing much administration news with those under him. They wonder if he has been cut off from the White House. Tillerson doesn’t appear to be eager to hear from those under him. Too much paperwork?

McElrath points to this conclusion from Bruce Bartlett: The nasty guy is doing this so that when an international incident arises he is unable to have a diplomatic solution and must use the military.

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